Photo of César Chávez

Strengthening the Legacy of César Chávez

On April 1, California commemorated César Chávez’s life and legacy. Chávez, alongside legendary activist Dolores Huerta, founded the United Farm Workers, a labor union for farmworkers in the United States. Together they made history by helping farmworkers earn the right to collectively bargain for safe working conditions and better pay.

Chávez, alongside his fellow activists and laborers, empowered tens of thousands of farmworkers to make their voices heard. But there is still work to be done to ensure that workers are supported in California. Migrant workers can find helpful resources and information about their employment-related rights at the California Employment Development Department (EDD) Migrant and Seasonal Outreach Program or Programa para Trabajadores Migrantes y Agrícolas de Temporada and at the U.S. Department of Labor’s or

DFPI’s mission is to foster an economy that works for everyone in California. Join us in celebrating the important work of our CalMoneySmart grantees that support financial education and empowerment programs for farmworker and immigrant communities across California. 

photo of Angelica Salas

“It is imperative that we uplift the contributions that immigrants have made to the economy in California and the rest of the country. Immigrants historically have been victims of racism and have suffered from inequalities rooted in the anti-immigrant sentiment driving policy makers, which obstructs racial justice, inclusion, and access to economic opportunity. It is our responsibility to change this narrative and ensure our contributions are acknowledged and valued.”

Angelica Salas, Executive Director
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) – Los Angeles/Statewide

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights’ (CHIRLA) mission is to achieve a just society fully inclusive of immigrants. CHIRLA empowers low-income undocumented and mixed-status immigrant communities who live and work in California. Its statewide Financial Education & Empowerment Program seeks to ensure unbanked and underbanked mixed-status immigrants have access to information and resources that can help them achieve their financial goals, increase their financial profile, and increase access to economic opportunity, setting a solid foundation for future generations. 

The observance of Cesar Chavez Day is significant for CHIRLA. It’s important to celebrate the birth and legacy of one of the biggest civil and labor rights leaders of our time. He was a champion who stood up for the dignity and recognition of all workers with humility, love and perseverance. These values are at the heart of CHIRLA’s mission and are part of the driving force of its day-to-day work.

 “For individuals who are just starting off their financial literacy journey, no matter what stage of life you are in, you should not be afraid to start your financial journey,” says Salas. “It is never too late to improve your financial literacy and money management skills. Amassing this knowledge will help you set your short-term and long-term financial goals and cement the foundations for posterity.”

“Growing up in a large family that faced significant financial struggles, I witnessed firsthand the impact of financial insecurity on individuals and families. From navigating language barriers to accessing basic financial services, my family’s experiences highlighted the pervasive challenges faced by many in our community, especially those who are underbanked. This personal journey ignited a desire within me to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others facing similar obstacles.” 

Alex Fajardo, Executive Director
El Sol Neighborhood Education Center – Inland Empire

El Sol Neighborhood Education Center is committed to empowering its community members in California’s Inland Empire to build a brighter financial future for themselves and their families. Through its partnership with the DFPI and the Mexican Consulate, El Sol established the ‘Smart Money’ program as an onsite financial services window (ventanilla financiera), offering accessible financial education and services. The program targets underserved communities, including those facing language barriers, to promote financial independence and security. 

César Chávez’s commitment to community activism and collective action resonates strongly with El Sol’s mission to provide financial education and support to underserved communities. “We share his belief in the power of grassroots organizing to effect positive change, and we strive to empower individuals with the knowledge and resources needed to advocate for their rights and improve their economic well-being,” says Fajardo. “Through the ‘Smart Money’ program, we are actively preparing our learners to be agents of change in the world, just as Chávez envisioned.”

For individuals just starting their financial literacy journey, Fajardo recommends:  

  • Starting with Basics – Understand fundamental concepts like budgeting, saving, and managing debt.  
  • Educating Yourself – Seek programs tailored to your needs, especially if you’re facing language barriers.  
  • Setting Clear Goals – Define financial objectives, whether it’s saving, debt management, or retirement planning.  
  • Practicing Patience – Be patient and persistent, acknowledging that learning new skills takes time and effort. 
  • Seeking Community Support – Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from financial literacy groups or community organizations. 

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Last updated: Apr 25, 2024 @ 3:52 pm